Episcopal School of Baton Rouge and many members of its school community were severely affected by the Flood of 2016 which was centered in the Greater Baton Rouge area and in parishes north of Baton Rouge and between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
“We have had numerous faculty and staff families affected as well as school families,” said school chaplain, the Rev. Skully Knight. “Some have lost everything—their home, the contents, their cars—everything.”
More than 40 faculty and staff families had homes that were severely damaged and will be severely challenged financially as they put their homes and lives back together.
The interiors of the school’s two gyms were destroyed, including the gym floors, locker rooms, and equipment. The storage sheds placed near fields all around the campus are still standing but their contents are a virtual total loss. There were significant losses of buses used for athletics and field trips.
As soon the waters receded, Bishop Thompson visited. The school is working with those families with the most damage and least resources to access relief.
Head of School Hugh McIntosh noted,
Our students were among the “first responders” to need in our school neighborhood, which flooded horribly, and throughout Baton Rouge and parts of neighboring parishes. Many of them were active in water rescues in the “Cajun Navy,” about which you may have read. Our students set up a command center. They deployed teams of our students to houses as soon as the streets were passable. They worked by sports team, by class, and by friends groups. One neighborhood family member wrote that on the first day that work was possible, Episcopal students were like “angels with smiles and pizza, providing this daughter and her parents with nourishment and hope at just the right time.”
It is these students—mainly upper school students—to whom I feel the greatest obligation to “Bounce Back.” I need help to ensure that these students—the very ones who waded through the waters, worked in the muck of neighbors and total strangers, rode in the Cajun Navy boats and rescued untold numbers, and who were excellent representative of everything Episcopal schools and the Episcopal Church stand for—do not come back to school only to bear a disproportionate burden of the disruption in Baton Rouge and here on our campus. When we have time to write the story of how our community responded to the Flood of 2016, the Knights of Episcopal School of Baton Rouge will be seen in bright shining armor.
The school has created two funds for relief and rebuilding.
Campus Bounce-Back Fund
Resources in this fund will be used to help the campus bounce back as quickly as possible. In addition to athletic practice and playing fields, three buildings on campus took in some water. Donations dedicated to this fund will help:
- Replace teacher supplies and IT equipment
- Replace athletic equipment and team supplies
- Repair athletic practice and playing fields and pool
- Repair buses used by our athletic teams
- Ensure proper maintenance equipment and machinery for buildings and grounds
KNIGHTS of Compassion Fund
Resources in this fund will be routed to short-term emergency needs for faculty and staff members who were personally impacted by flood waters. This fund will facilitate teachers being fully present in the classrooms.